My reasons for believing in Christ’s virginal conception in the womb of the Virgin Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit may be summarized as follows:

First, of course, is the teaching of Scripture itself, about which, as we have already noted, there is no question.  This reason is paramount and sufficient, as far as I am concerned, for believing it, but then, I speak as a Christian.  But, more can be said.

Second is the weight of the church’s historical testimony that I reviewed in a cursory way above.

Third is the Christian theistic reason: Jesus’ virginal conception is, simply, one aspect of the total supernaturalism of Scripture and of Christian theism in general.  If one can believe, for example, Genesis 1.1 or that God speaks to men in Scripture or in Jesus’ miracles or that He rose from the dead and left this world by ascending to His Father, it is asking very little more of one to believe that Jesus entered this world also miraculously by being virginally conceived.

Fourth is the psychological reason: only the virginal conception can explain Mary’s willingness to be included in the company of those who worshiped Jesus as the divine Son of God (Acts 1.14).  It taxes one’s credulity to accept that Mary could have believed that her Son died for her sins and was her divine Savior deserving of her worship or that she would have allowed others to believe so if she knew in her heart that His origin was like that of every other man and that He had been conceived out of wedlock.

Fifth are the theological reasons: (1) the virginal conception of Jesus is the Bible’s explanation for the “how” of the incarnation, and (2) while the virginal conception is not necessarily the total explanation for Jesus’ sinlessness, it is a fact that, if Jesus had been the offspring of the union of a human father and mother, such a natural generation would have entailed depravity (John 3.6) and implicated Jesus in Adam’s first sin (Romans 5.12, 19).

Sixth, and finally, are the apologetic or polemical reasons: (1) if Jesus was not virginally conceived, then Matthew and Luke were in error and cease to be trustworthy, authoritative guides and teachers of doctrine not only here but in other matters of faith as well, such as Christ’s resurrection (see Machen, Virgin Birth, 382-387).  (2) If Jesus was not virginally conceived, serious gaps are left in any effort to understand the person of Christ and the incarnation (Machen, Virgin Birth, 387-395).  (3) If Jesus was conceived like all other men, then He stood under the Adamic curse like the rest of those who descend by natural generation, as we just noted, and this, in turn, means that He would not have been an acceptable Savior of men before God.  But this would mean, in turn, the end of Christianity as a redemptive religion for sinful men since there would then be no one who could offer himself up to God as an acceptable, unblemished sacrifice to satisfy divine justice and to reconcile God to man.  I fully realize that this last point assumes a particular doctrine of sin (“original and race sin”) and a particular view of the atonement (“satisfaction”), but then it is a fact that the Bible teaches this doctrine of sin (Romans 5.12-19) and this kind of atonement – the kind that Jesus accomplished by His sinless life and substitutionary death on the cross.

From: Faith’s Reasons for Believing: An Apologetic Antidote to Mindless Christianity by Robert L. Reymond (Fearn: Mentor, 2008), pp. 190-192.

Robert L. Reymond (1932-2013) was Professor of Systematic Theology at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri (1968-1990).


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